Thursday, July 31, 2008

A timely tutorial

Dr. Shawn Wayment of Birddogdoc Chronicles, has posted some great information on canine heat stroke on his blog here

Thanks to Doc Wayment for providing a very timely reminder.

Canine intelligence?

I've always given canines far more credit for intelligence than science has alluded to, but this story might just be a little too much...

Math??? I just dunno...


Mutt does math

XI'AN (China)
Apr 27, 2007

A 3-year-old dog in Xi'an, Northwest Shaanxi Province, reportedly knows how to add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers up to 10. The small, white pug known as "Wawa"
( - meaning "baby"), can correctly answer questions such as "How many is 2+2 equal to?" and "How many is 3 x 3 equal to?"

The pooch responds by barking the appropriate number of times and sitting when finished.

To test the claims, a reporter from the Sanquin Daily visited the home of Mr. and Mrs. Pang where Wawa lives. "How many is 9 divided by 3 equal to?" asked the reporter. Wawa barked 3 times and squatted on the floor. 1

Skeptics, believing that Mr. Pang was covertly signaling the answers to Wawa, decided to test the dog without Mr. Pang present. Wawa still responded with perfect accuracy. 2

Mr. Pang says he began tutoring Wawa in math two years ago after noticing that the pooch showed a natural sensitivity to numbers. He began with hand gestures, showing one finger and saying, "Wawa, this is one," and training the dog to bark once. After a few weeks, Wawa graduated to 2, 3, 4 and so on. Within 6 months, the precocious pup had mastered 1-10 and began learning arithmetic operations.

What's next for Wawa? Geometry, maybe. Everyone knows dogs love to sink their teeth into pi.

Mr. Pang has taught his pooch "Wawa" to count numbers up to 10 and perform elementary math calculations. The 3-year-old pug mix learned very quickly, mastering the basics after only 6 months of training, says Mr. Pang.
(Photo: Xi'an Daily)


Thousands of years ago, Canis lupus (wolves) developed basic arithmetic skills in order to keep track of the members within the pack. Today, Canis lupus familiaris (dogs) still have that ancestral skill. 3


You decide.............

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Life's little dilemmas..

I'm having some major work done on the old homestead later this month to conserve energy. I have to dig into an account to pay for it all, so I thought I might dig a wee bit deeper..
I've liked the Galazan RBL since it first came out. I don't care for choke tubes, but that is basically the only feature I dislike... It would be nice with a scalloped receiver where it meet the buttstock, but that's another issue.
Now, the dilemma.... I've got this little Ithaca/SKB 280 with 28" barrels, and the chokes opened for bird hunting. It's a 20 ga. like the RBL.
I know I would not be able to shoot the RBL any better than this gun, and probably be lucky to shoot it as well. I'd be gaining prettier wood, and a nice case colored receiver..
If I shot it as well as the SKB, (doubtful), the SKB would be relegated to a corner of the cabinet... if I didn't shoot it as well, the RBL would quickly find it's way to that same corner.
Now, guns don't eat anything or require any visible means of support, so that's kind of a moot point...

I've found upland nirvana in the little Ithaca/SKB, but I find myself wanting more...

Is this the upland dilemma that all we who tramp the uplands in search of elusive birds face?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Norm Sorby on Gordons...

We've spoken about Norm Sorby over at Springset Kennels quite a bit here. While Norm is one of those polarizing people; you either love him or you hate him, even his detractors cannot deny what he has accomplished for the Field end of the breed..
He started with great breeding stock from Alec Laurence, but what he did for the Gordon, he did singlehandedly..
Norm knows Gordons, period!! So, I give alot of weight to what he says...

Here is an excerpt from "The Field Gordon Setter... The Black and Tan Bombshell"

Acquiring a Gordon is like becoming a parent. When the dog is a puppy, it responds very much l;ike a small child. As it grows and develops the relationship shifts subtly. As an adult, the relationship between most owners and their Gordons becomes more like that of a parent with a teenager with whom they have a lot of rapport. The owner is still the dominant or controlling member of the partnership (let us hope), but it is definitely a partnership. The dog is less dependent and more a friend on a semi-equal basis.
To many people used to having dogs as pets, this description of a relationship between dog and human seems to be another case of a human getting carried away with a dog. But anyone who has had an intellegent Gordon and who has given it the opportunity to develop fully, will agree. There is definitely something in that dog's head thinking back at you.

I believe that anyone here who has spent time with a Field Gordon will recognize these words to be true...

Enjoy the day!

Monday, July 28, 2008

More on a Favorite

The Good Lord knows that Corey Ford is one of my favorites, but his catalog of sporting literature is limited. But, there is more. An anthology of short stories and snippets put together by Laurie Morrow titled "The Trickiest Thing in Feathers".
Mr. Ford is best known for his extremely close relationships with his English Setters, but, who knew that he had also owned a Gordon.... He was obviously possessed of uncommonly good taste in his affectation for birddogs.
Corey Ford was also a lifelong bachelor, choosing to embrace the Sporting Life and his beloved Setters over the traditional choices of lifelong companions.

In Corey's own words about his beloved English Setter "Cider"...

Somehow, I never thought of Cider as a dog, and I doubt that he ever considered me a master. Ours was a mutual partnership, like marriage. The leash in my hand attached me to him as much ashe was attached to me. We could not converse, but that didn't matter; he read my thoughts, and in turn I knew what he was thinking. From the start, there was a sort of telepathy between us. He never barked to wake me up, but sat beside my bed and stared at me patiently until I opened my eyes. In the woods, we could locate each other without calling.
He had one object in life, and that was to make sure I took him along wherever I went. His technique was discipline through devotion, the iron paw in the velvet glove.

Corey Ford obviously had an uncommon love for his "Cider". I know that many readers here can understand exactly how he felt....

For more Corey Ford, have your local bookshop order you a copy of "The Trickiest Thing in Feathers." I'm sure you will find it as fascinating as I do.....

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Musings of a Part-Time Adirondacker

My wife and I, and of course the dogs, got away for a week and a half to our Adirondack camp. It's great to get away with the dogs, and we all never fail to have a great time. There is always much work to be done, but, the dogs get time to run the Forest Preserve, and there is also alot of down time.
One of my favorite ways to pass the time is to sit on the porch, watch a couple of cars a day pass down the unimproved road out front, and sit and watch the hummingbirds at the feeder hanging from an exposed roof rafter mere feet from where I sit.
It struck me as I watched just how much the pretty little birds are like humans. There is more than enough nectar for everyone. There are four feeding stations on each feeder, and yet the hummers squabble like school children. Two birds at the same feeder at the same time is a rarity, without one trying to chase another off.. They spend much more energy chasing and fussing than feeding.
Since there is so little stimulation at the camp; No TV... just NPR and a good book... one's mind starts to ponder nature's ways.
I thought to myself how much better a world it would be if humans and hummingbiords could just take what they need and no more... and just learn to get along...

It's tough to leave camp and touch down at reality again..... but.. someday...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Queen of Mean not so mean??

Leona Helmsley is "affectionately" known as "The Queen of Mean" to New Yorkers. The widow of hotel magnate Harry Helmsley, Leona thought nothing of tossing needy folks into the street.. I almost believe that she revelled in the act and loved the publicity...This article from the New York Times, may show that the "Queen" actually had a heart after all, although not towards humans...

Prefer dogs to humans? You're not alone (or unbalanced)
By Erica Goode Published: July 6, 2008

NEW YORK: Humans are an overrated species, or so Leona Helmsley apparently believed.

She briefly considered giving some of her real estate billions to other humans - indigent people, to be specific - but later changed her mind, leaving instead up to $8 billion in a charitable trust solely for the care and welfare of dogs. She favored her Maltese, Trouble, over her family, providing $12 million for the dog in her will, a lot more than she left her grandchildren.

Predictably, the news of the extent of Helmsley's charitable bequest was greeted last week with outrage about misguided priorities and jokes about a wealthy woman so arrogant, imperious and ill-tempered that only a canine could abide her.

But Helmsley, though richer and crankier than most, was hardly the first person to deem the companionship of dogs or other pets more gratifying than that of people, raising the question of how common such sentiments are and whether they represent a reasonable choice in a world of fickle and unpredictable two-legged creatures, or evidence of some deep-seated psychological disturbance.

The field of psychotherapy has traditionally viewed those whose closest relationships are with animals as somehow lacking, their affections pathologically misplaced, their devotion a symptom of their inability to forge healthy connections with the humans around them.

Today in Health & Science
A new frontier for Title IX: ScienceCalm down or elseEfforts on 2 fronts to save a population of ferrets
But in recent years, researchers have begun to take far more seriously the bonds between humans and animals and to evaluate those relationships in a more positive light.

"There are whole segments of the population that prefer being in the company of dogs than people, and I'm not sure that's such a negative thing," said Joel Gavriele-Gold, a psychoanalyst in private practice in Manhattan and the author of "When Pets Come Between Partners."

In a recent study, Lawrence Kurdek, a psychologist at Wright State University in Ohio, found that college students who had a high level of attachment to their dogs showed greater attachment to the pets than to their fathers. Their attachment to their mothers, siblings and best friends was just about the same as their attachment to their canine companions, Kurdek found.

The study, reported in the April issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, found that the students who were most strongly attached to their dogs did not show high levels of anxiety or avoidance - characteristics that some therapists would expect to see in people with unusually fierce bonds to animals.

The finding, Kurdek wrote, supports the idea that "people strongly attached to their pet dogs do not turn to pet dogs as substitutes for failed interactions with humans."

To Gavriele-Gold, the intensity of the relationship between people and their pets is unsurprising.

"Humans tend to be very disappointing - notice our divorce rate," Gavriele-Gold said. "Dogs are not hurtful and humans are. People are inconsistent and dogs are fairly consistent."

Still, he said, he has seen patients who, betrayed and wounded in childhood, have turned to a cat or dog for the uncritical support and love they never received.

"If you grew up in an atmosphere where you were abused, you're not going to have a high regard for people," he said.

In somecases, a pet can provide an outlet for more unpleasant traits, like a need to control others, a refusal to compromise or an inability to grant other people autonomy.

Gavriele-Gold described one patient as "a total control freak" who became a dog trainer.

"It worked out really well for him," he said. "He was able to marry a woman who was totally laid-back, and he had no desire to control her because he was able to do it with the dogs."

Several experts said that from everything they had read about Helmsley, who died last August, her relationship with her dog may have fallen into the pathological category.

Healthy or not, Helmsley did not go quite as far in her devotion as some others. She may have backed her love for Trouble with millions, but, perhaps because she hailed from a more staid generation, she never quite declared the bond exclusive.

Others do. A Web site in Britain ,, features testimonials from pet owners who claim, seriously or not, that their relationships with their dogs or cats are primary. And Marc Bekoff, an animal researcher in Colorado, said he was startled recently at a meeting when a woman kept talking about her "significant other."

It turned out, he wrote in an e-mail message, that she was talking about a beagle.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pride in being a Celt

Boudica (Boudicca)
"...a terrible disaster occurred in Britain. Two cities were sacked, eighty thousand of the Romans and of their allies perished, and the island was lost to Rome. Moreover, all this ruin was brought upon the Romans by a woman, a fact which in itself caused them the greatest shame....But the person who was chiefly instrumental in rousing the natives and persuading them to fight the Romans, the person who was thought worthy to be their leader and who directed the conduct of the entire war, was Buduica, a Briton woman of the royal family and possessed of greater intelligence than often belongs to women....In stature she was very tall, in appearance most terrifying, in the glance of her eye most fierce, and her voice was harsh; a great mass of the tawniest hair fell to her hips; around her neck was a large golden necklace; and she wore a tunic of divers colours over which a thick mantle was fastened with a brooch. This was her invariable attire."

So Cassius Dio describes Boudica, Queen of the Iceni, who led them in revolt against the Romans in AD 60. (Although Tacitus says that the rebellion broke out in AD 61, it is more probable that it began in AD 60 and lasted until the following year.)

When Claudius ordered the invasion of Britain in AD 43, the principal objective was Camulodunum (Colchester), the fortified Iron Age settlement (oppidum) of the Catuvellauni who had been ruled, until his death a few years before, by Cunobelinus. It is there that Claudius ceremoniously accepted the submission of the Britons before returning to Rome (after only sixteen days, says Cassius Dio), where, in time, his victory was commemorated with a triumphal arch.

Now, almost twenty years later, the oppression of Roman provincial administration had become intolerable. If Rome hoped to govern that distant province, it was essential that there be at least the tacit cooperation of the British nobility. Unless the native population recognized the advantage of being part of the Empire, there could be no political security, and their interests, if not with Rome, would be with themselves. This principle of governance apparently was not appreciated by the procurator, who, as the chief financial administrator of the province, treated the inhabitants, instead, as a defeated enemy.

Tacitus, the only other ancient authority for the rebellion, records in Agricola that "The Britons themselves submit to the levy, the tribute and the other charges of Empire with cheerful readiness, provided that there is no abuse. That they bitterly resent: for they are broken in to obedience, not to slavery."

He recounts the complaints of the Iceni: the governor tyrannized their persons; the procurator, their possessions. "Their gangs of centurions or slaves, as the case may be, mingle violence and insult. Nothing is any longer safe from their greed and lust. In war it is the braver who takes the spoil; as things stand with us, it is mostly cowards and shirkers that rob our homes, kidnap our children and conscript our men."

Even the royal house of the Iceni was not immune. When the king died, the client relationship with Rome and status of the tribe as civitates peregrinae ended. Still, half the kingdom was left to Nero in the hope that the remaining possessions could thereby be preserved for his two daughters. But, as Tacitus records in his Annals,

" turned out otherwise. Kingdom and household alike were plundered like prizes of war, the one by Roman officers, the other by Roman slaves. As a beginning, his widow Boudicca was flogged and their daughters raped. The Icenian chiefs were deprived of their hereditary estates as if the Romans had been given the whole country. The king's own relatives were treated like slaves."

Not only was the property taken over by the procurator, the governor reduced the kingdom to provincial status. There may have been other abuses, as well. Dio writes that the procurator now was demanding the return of money that had been given by Claudius to influential Britons, and that the philosopher Seneca abruptly recalled forty million sesterces that had been forced on unwilling Britons as a loan.

Boudica rebelled. She was joined by other tribes, as well as the Trinovantes to the south, who had their own reasons to hate the occupation. Roman veterans, who settled at Camulodunum (Colchester), had expelled the native people and appropriated their homes and land, treating them like prisoners and slaves. The Temple of Claudius was particularly offensive, "a blatant stronghold of alien rule" that had to be supported by the very people whom Rome oppressed. Amid a series of portents and confusion, the colonists appealed to the procurator for help. The few troops that were sent from Londinium were not enough, and the town soon was overrun and sacked. The Roman soldiers took refuge in the temple, but after two days, it also fell. Legio IX, under strength and marching south from its camp at Longthorpe some eighty miles away under the impetuous command of Petillius Cerialis, was ambushed and defeated. The procurator fled to Gaul, and Boudica marched on Londinium. As Tacitus records,

"Neither before nor since has Britain ever been in a more uneasy or dangerous state. Veterans were butchered, colonies burned to the ground, armies isolated. We had to fight for our lives before we could think of victory."

Far to the west, Suetonius Paullinus, the governor of Britannia, was in Mona (Anglesey) just off the coast of northern Wales. The island was a sanctuary for refugees, as well as an important religious center for the Druids, and Paullinus, despite Roman tolerance for native religions, was determined to subdue it. "For it was their religion to drench their altars in the blood of prisoners and consult their gods by means of human entrails." Tacitus describes in the Annals what happened. "The enemy lined the shore in a dense armed mass. Among them were black-robed women with dishevelled hair like Furies, brandishing torches. Close by stood Druids, raising their hands to heaven and screaming dreadful curses." Uncertain at the spectacle, the Roman forces hesitated but then pressed forward, slaughtering all those before them. The island was garrisoned and the sacred groves of trees, their altars red with blood, cut down.

Hearing of the rebellion, Paullinus rushed to Londinium with Legio XIV and detachments of Legio XX, sending the cavalry on ahead, with orders for Legio II at Exeter to meet him there. But, inexplicitly, the camp commander refused and, when Paullinus finally arrived in Londinium, he realized that, with the defeat of Legio IX, there were too few troops to defend it. The town, the most populous in Britain, was abandoned, and those who could not accompany the retreating army left to be slaughtered by the rebels. Nearby Verulamium (St. Albans) suffered the same fate. Again, Tacitus describes what happened.

"The natives enjoyed plundering and thought of nothing else. By-passing forts and garrisons, they made for where loot was richest and protection weakest. Roman and provincial deaths at the places mentioned are estimated at seventy thousand. For the British did not take or sell prisoners, or practice war-time exchanges. They could not wait to cut throats, hang, burn, and crucify--as though avenging, in advance, the retribution that was on its way." [Dio is even more graphic in his description of atrocities.]

In the meantime, Paullinus was marshaling his troops, nearly ten thousand men in all, including auxiliaries from local garrisons, and prepared to confront the enemy at a place that offered the best tactical advantage. He chose a position in front of a defile between surrounding hills, with open ground in front and the protection of a dense wood in the rear. (The battle may have been fought at Mancetter, on Watling Street midway between Mona and Londinium, where there already was a Roman camp.) The legionnaires were drawn up tightly in the center, with the auxiliaries on their flanks, and the cavalry on the wings (Dio has Paullinus place his men in three separate divisions).

Tacitus continues his account.

"On the British side, cavalry and infantry bands seethed over a wide area. Their numbers were unprecedented [Dio puts the figure at 230,000, which clearly is an exaggeration], and they had confidently brought their wives to see the victory, installing them in carts stationed at the edge of the battlefield."

With her daughters in front of her, Boudica drove her chariot among the tribes, shouting encouragement, as the assembled Britons, compressed in the defile, struggled to come onto open ground. The Romans waited, hurled their javelins, and then shouldered their way forward in wedge formation, hacking their way through the throng. Dio describes the battle.

"Thereupon the armies approached each other, the barbarians with much shouting mingled with menacing battle-songs, but the Romans silently and in order until they came within a javelin's throw of the enemy. Then, while their foes were still advancing against them at a walk, the Romans rushed forward at a signal and charged them at full speed, and when the clash came, easily broke through the opposing ranks..."

The British chariots scattered the Roman archers, but then, without the protection of breastplates, were driven back by a volley of arrows. The shock of the javelins, followed by the charge of the infantry, routed the Britons, whose escape was impeded by the wagons and dead animals in the rear that now blocked their retreat. The battle became a massacre; even the women, says Tacitus, were not spared. "It was a glorious victory, comparable with bygone triumphs. According to one report almost eighty thousand Britons fell. Our own casualties were about four hundred dead and a slightly larger number of wounded. Boudica poisoned herself."

As at the battle of Mons Graupius twenty years later, the Britons suffered a devastating loss. Nor was their suffering at an end. Paullinus kept his army in the field, and two thousand legionaries, eight cohorts of auxiliary infantry, and a thousand auxiliary cavalry were transferred from Germany to make up the losses to Legio IX. Hostile tribes, as well as those who had been neutral, were harried and suffered punitive reprisals (the devastation of the hillfort at South Cadbury, in fact, may date to this time). There also was famine, as the Britons had neglected to sow their crops for the season, assuming that they would capture the Roman stores.

The new procurator of the province was Julius Classicianus. Almost certainly a Celt, himself, he encouraged the Britons to hold out, in hope that Paullinus might be replaced by a governor not so determined to exact vengeance. His report to Rome prompted an inquiry and, eventually, an excuse was found to have Paullinus recalled. Much to Tacitus' disapproval, the new governor, "neither provoking the enemy nor provoked, called this ignoble inactivity peace with honour."

But his leniency quieted the rebellious Britons. There would be no more insurrections.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Wisdom from Hemingway..

I guess I got my love and fascination of quotations from my Mother, and her side of the family. I guess the Welsh are a little more sensitive and thoughtful than their Celtic cousins merely across the straits.. In any case, I enjoy delving into the myriad of meanings that these quotes provide, and how they apply to me at differing periods of my life. So, today we ponder Hemingway...

Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated.

He no longer dreamed of storms, nor of women, nor of great occurrences, nor of great fish, nor fights, nor contests of strength, nor of his wife. He only dreamed of places now and of the lions on the beach. They played like young cats in the dusk and he loved them.

Anyone can be a fisherman in May.

Why did they make birds so delicate and fine as those sea swallows when the ocean can be so cruel? She is kind and very beautiful. But she can be so cruel and it comes so suddenly and such birds that fly, dipping and hunting, with their small sad voices are made too delicately for the sea.

Fish, I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends.

The clouds were building up now for the trade wind and he looked ahead and saw a flight of wild ducks etching themselves against the sky over the water, then blurring, then etching again and he knew no man was ever alone on the sea.

You did not kill the fish only to keep alive and to sell for food, he thought. You killed him for pride and because you are a fisherman. You loved him when he was alive and you loved him after. If you love him, it is not a sin to kill him. Or is it more?

It is good that we do not have to try to kill the sun or the moon or the stars. It is enough to live on the sea and kill our true brothers.

A man can be destroyed but not defeated.

Ernest Hemingway from The Old man and the Sea

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Are dogs more perceptive than humans?

I've always given dogs credit for much more intellegence than science leads us to believe. This has been proven to me time and again after a lifetime of observing their behavior.
This was driven home to me once again recently being close to the death of a dog I was quite close to. At close to fifteen years old, this little Cocker was dying and he knew it. He was suffering grand mal seizures. His CBC (blood count) did not have a single value in the normal range. His body was simply shutting down.
I'm convinced that dogs are aware that their end is near, and often try to get off by themselves, dig themselves under brush or trees, and prepare to die. Are they trying to spare their human companions of witnessing their demise, or just looking for a quiet place to peacefully pass over alone?
This dog exhibited this behavior, and I've seen other dogs of my own do it.
It would be better if we could know exactly when the right time is to end our friends' sufferings, but sometimes we're just to close, and too unmilling to lose a friend, to see clearly.
But, there are also stories of dogs reportedly knowing when it's master is coming home, before a car ever pulls up. Or, a dog that can sense when a seizure is coming upon a family member before it materializes.. Or dogs that can "smell" cancer in the body of someone it's close to.
Too many incidents to chalk it all up to chance!

There are many things in this world that Man does not know or fully understand, and I've been a firm believer for a long time that canine intellegence is one of them...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Another Podcast

Go to the same site, here and listen to Dave Beuhner, one of the contributors to "The Bombshell", explain everything you ever wanted to know about George Ryman's Setters, and the Ryman type Setter of today.
Dave is a passionate individual about his Setters, and his Pennsylvania Grouse hunting traditions. He possesses a wealth of knowledge on the subject of his pursuits, and this podcast is an investment well worth any birdhunter or dogman's time.
I respect Dave highly for his steadfastness in his beliefs...

Scroll down to Podcast #034, and listen to a true dogman speak his peace...

A good listen for birddog folks

Be sure to listen to Al Fazenbaker of the NRSFTC explain the origins and attributes of the Red Setter here.
Al, and his wife Deb, know the Red Dogs inside out, so when they speak, I listen!

Oh, how I wish there were a Ned LeGrande in the Gordon setter world!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Summer Imbibing..

While I'm a prudent alcohol user by choice, I consume even less during the hot summer months, because it just tends to make me feel hotter.
But, after a few rounds of clay targets, we have often gone to a local tavern for a drink or two..
I'm not much of a beer drinker anymore, so what I often order this time of year is a Vodka & Tonic, over crushed ice in a tall glass.. What my dear departed friend Eddie used to call a glacier. And, a glacier is what it looks, and sometimes tastes like.
I eschew the Gin & Tonic, because I have not been able to drink Gin since overindulging as a crazy teenager.
So, while I would never think to promote the use of alcohol to anyone, if used in moderation, as with all things, an occasional V&T on a hot summer afternoon can be just what the Doctor ordered for the body, mind and spirit...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Confucius Say..

“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”

Confucius quotes (China's most famous teacher, philosopher, and political theorist, 551-479 BC)

Words to live by! When we're wronged, just let it go.. It's much better for our health in the long run.. And, we'd all like a long run...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Go out to Grousehunter 12 for being visitor # 2,000 to this blog...

I'd like to express my appreciation to him for being a loyal and stalwart member here.. Without folks like him, this blog would not exist...

Maybe I should have hats made up or sumthin' for these milestones... More to come!

Hutchinson on Setters

click image to enlarge..

We've mentioned the volumes of the Hutchinson Dog Encyclopedia at the Bombshell before. This picture is taken from Hutchinson on Setters, and it's certainly a worthwhile investment for students of the various Setter breeds.
The facts that strike me most of the British gordons pictured in this volume is their absolute darkness... They appear to be virtually black. The tan areas must be a very deep mahogany, very much unlike some of the very bright Gordons I've seen in the US.. While some lines, like Belmor, tend to be darker with alot of penciling, there are others that are quite colorful, with the Tan being very light and bright.
I must say that I don't have a preference, but it once again reveals the variations in differing Gordon lines.

These Hutchinson books, while dealing with the British end on the breeds, are quite informative, and can be found from time to time on the internet auction sites..

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Mighty 3/4 ounce 20 gauge Load!!

I've been shooting the 3/4 ounce load in my 20 gauge Ithaca/SKB 280 since I started shotgunning again in March. It is not a high-velocity load, but it crushes properly pointed Skeet targets with authority, and is an absolute pleasure to shoot. This is a load that is a killer on only one end of the gun... and it's the end that counts. And, with a shoulder that is still a little loose, that's a blessing...
The load takes a little longer to reload, because of the foam spacer I need to insert into the bottom of each shotcup of the Pattern Control (PC) yellow wad. I punch out the foam with a 9/16 arch punch, and I'm experimenting with 28 gauge Circle-Fly or BP overshot cards in the bottom of the shotcup above the foam, or as an overshot card beneath the crimp.
I've just about got this load perfected as far as reloading goes. I use Alliant Unique as a propellant and a WW 209 Primer. This was a published load from Hercules (pre-Alliant), but no longer appears in Alliant data...
For those that would like the specs of the load I use, send me an e-mail and I'll send the particulars out..

This load works so well, I'll never go back to 7/8 ounce for clay targets...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Music to Soothe the Savage Beast

J.S. Bach (1685-1750)
Probably the most prolific composer of the baroque style..

Wales is known as "The Land of Song", and music runs through my veins. Whenever i go back and do pub crawling with my cousin Alan, invariably some gentleman, or group of gentlemen, will suddenly break into song. Down at a pub in "lower town", a border collie was even encouraged to sing my his master and friends.. It all makes one feel quite at home and at peace with oneself.
In any event, for some time now I have been listening to a program on NPR called "Sunday Morning Baroque". I love classical music from the Baroque Period, and thoroughly enjoy the harpsichord as utilized by J.S. Bach, pictured above.
While I generally disagree with NPR on politics and alot of the commentary, most of the musical programming is great...
Check the listings of your local NPR broadcaster, and give Sunday Morning Baroque a listen.. It might just make a convert out of you also.

Check it out here

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Kipling on Life..

Here's a great piece of verse from the British novelist, poet, journalist and writer of short stories, Rudyard Kipling. Born in Bombay, India in 1865, Kipling left a wealth of classics such as The Jungle Book, Kim, Gunga Din, and todays post If, before his death in London in 1936. I memorized this poem for school one year... If I'd known school would do me so much good, I would have paid more attention instead of daydreaming out the window...

'If' by Rudyard Kipling..

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master,
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Definition of "Bird Dog" via Politics...

From of all places, the New York Times... The last folks one would expect to have any knowledge on the subject. This, by William Safire, and published in The Times on February 24, 2008.


Responding to a cockamamie question a few weeks ago about whether there is a secret agreement to merge the U.S., Mexico and Canada into a single continental nation (MexiCanUs?), Senator Hillary Clinton gently replied, “I’ve heard that story, and there’s not a lot of truth to it.” Not to put down her somewhat vituperative Missouri questioner, the senator added, “If I am president, if I discover there is such an agreement, it’ll be gone in a bird-dog minute.”

William Safire's On Language Column »
What sort of time period is that? Is it shorter than a New York minute? That emphatically speedy moment was coined by a Washington Post headline writer in 1927 about a speech in New York by James Rowland Angell, the president of Yale, that was sped instantly round the world by the newfangled medium of radio.

Mrs. Clinton was first reported using the canine compound adjective in March 1992, answering a question about whether she would go through a rough political campaign again. The Chicago Daily Herald quoted her saying, “I’d do it again in a bird-dog minute, as they say in Arkansas.”

Her Osage locution, unreported elsewhere by search engines, was apparently taken up by her husband, former governor of Arkansas. At a fund-raiser in 2000 for the re-election of Representative John Lewis in Atlanta, President Clinton referred to Lewis’s son, who wore his hair in dreadlocks, and said he told the congressman, “If I was 23 and I could have hair like that, I’d do it in a bird-dog minute.” (Lewis was a stalwart for Hillary in the recent Georgia Democratic primary that was carried by Barack Obama, but he has since wavered.)

A bird dog, according to David Smith of the National Bird Dog Museum, can include such breeds as the English pointer and setter, the American Brittany, the German short-haired pointer and the vizsla. These breeds, however, are known for their industriousness and ability to point and retrieve and not for their speed; an alliterative Southern expression is “busy as a bird dog,” not “fast” as one. The bird dog has been used as a metaphor for brokers, agents and talent scouts, especially in sports. The verb to bird-dog means “to search for relentlessly” or, more aptly, “doggedly,” but not “speedily.”

As a nonpartisan (not postpartisan) lexicographer, I have tried three times to reach someone in Senator Clinton’s presidential campaign staff to point to, pursue and retrieve the source of this colorful expression, which may be a New York doctrine with an Arkansas corollary. Perhaps the Clinton staff is busy with more immediate concerns or mistakenly suspects my query is some sort of rhetorical trap because my political views are congenitally conservative. Therefore, I must turn further etymology of this rare bit of Americana over to that cultural marvel at the University of Wisconsin, the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE), whose researchers resolutely bird-dog such dialectical delights.


I would agree with the definition offered by David Smith, with the notable exception of the Gordon and Irish Red Setters, and the French Britts, but everyone knew that... Retrievers, regardless of breeding, while they can be useful in the uplands, are decidedly not Bird Dogs... Just ask William Safire and David Smith of the National Bird Dog Museum.

Here's the definition, courtesy Wikipedia...

A bird dog is a type of gun dog or hunting dog used to hunt or retrieve birds.

In the southern United States the term bird dog refers to dog breeds such as the English Pointer, Gordon Setter, English Setter, Brittany, and other pointing breeds

A Safe and Happy ....

I'd like to wish everyone who stops by this blog to read my humble efforts, a safe ans happy Fourth of July... Let the experts handle the fireworks, throw the dogs in the bedroom with the AC running full blast with the radio turned up, and enjoy your BBQ..


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Gordons tough to find??

Here's a beautiful picture of Milomix Berry. This dog is owned, and this picture kindly provided by Dr. William Wright, of Milomix. Please click on the picture to enlarge this beautiful photo...

One of the "knocks' on the Gordon by people unfarmiliar with the breed is that they are tough to see in cover. There may be some little bit of truth to that, but, I personally have never found it to be a problem.
If there is a lack of a Gordon's coloration standing out, I feel that it would be much more due to ambient lighting that the Gordon not showing up against the cover.
Beep collars, and bells for the traditionalists, solve the problem anyway. And, if you've got a smaller field Gordon, they tend to "pop" from cover as they rapidly move through it..
When the snow starts to fly, and the grouse woods are white, that perceived liability turns into a definite asset! Just imagine trying to pick out a Grouse Ridge Setter or Miller Pointer against a snowy background..
But, I think the above picture of Berry shows how a Gordon can stand out amidst typical cover..
That shining black coat is hard to miss.. and so is the birdwork..

Remember the three "B"s

Beauty, Brains and Birdsense...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Clan Gordon

The Clan Gordon crest consists of a stag's head sitting on a bejeweled crown surrounded by a belt. There are ten tines on the stag's antlers, five on each side. The word 'ByDand' (Remaining) runs across the top.

The Gordon clan is an ancient family of Britain and Scotland. Although the chiefs were not of Celtic origin, the clan adopted the distinctive Celtic badge of the rock ivy.

The Gordons originally came to the islands from Normandy (France). The Anglo-Norman family that became known as the Clan (or House) of Gordon settled in the Borders area in the 12th Century, but moved to Aberdeenshire in the 14th Century when Sir Adam, Lord of Gordon, was granted lands by Robert the Bruce.

Sir Adam of Gordon was granted Strathbogie, confiscated from the Earl of Atholl by Robert the Bruce, in return for service to Bruce's cause. Sir Adam of Gordon served as one of the ambassadors to Rome who fought to have the Bruce's excommunication removed. The Gordons wielded enormous power during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Gordon castle was considered the most magnificent edifice in the north of Scotland.

Bydand (Remaining, Abiding) - and also:
Animo non astutia (By courage not craft)
A Gordon! A Gordon!

Clan feuds and battles were frequent in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Gordons most often clashed with the Mackintoshes, the Camerons, the Murrays and the Forbes.

The Duke of Gordon, who was the chief of the clan, was often styled "The Cock of the North." George, the fourth marquis, was made Duke of Gordon in 1684. The fifth Duke of Gordon died without issue in May of 1836. At his death, the title of Duke of Gordon became extinct. The Marquis of Huntly became the chief of the clan Gordon.

We'll end todays post with a dog related quote.....

"I cant think of anything that brings me closer to tears than when my old dog -- completely exhausted after a hard day in the field -- limps away from her nice spot in front of the fire and comes over to where I'm sitting and puts her head in my lap, a paw over my knee, and closes her eyes and goes back to sleep. I dont know what Ive done to deserve that kind of friend." Gene Hill

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Dogs and the Dog Daze...

The dog days of summer are upon us, at least in this neck of the woods. I won't run a dog during these spells of heat unless it's in the coolness of the morning, with plenty of water carried, and close to a water supply where the dog can immerse the entire body to cool off.
It's a dangerous time for dogs, as their cooling system is far less refined than that of a human. The main way for a dog's body to lose excess heat is through panting, and in the folds of the nose. Another method is through the paws.. Give the dog the ability to cool the paws, and the body will remain cool.
Dogs do not lose heat through the skin as humans do. The fur is an insulator, and tests have shown no difference in heat loss whether the coat is clipped, or kept long. human's feel it helps because of our own adaptations.
But, as I mentioned, the main source of cooling is provided by the open mouth during panting, and the perspiration and high surface area of the folds in the nose. Alot of air is taken in and out during respiration, and this surface are acts like the radiator of an automobile.
Even at home, I feel it's important for the dogs to have a place to cool off whenever they'd like. A stock tank, small pool used to build backyard ponds, even a small childs wading pool is enough to all one's dogs to weather the hot extremes easily. My dog's always have at least a 12' depth of water to jump into.. and don't forget to change the water every few days to prevent providing a place for mosquitos to breed..

Field trials are suspended for the summer, and with good reason for the dog's protection. We can still exercise our dogs though, if we are thoughtful about it and use some common sense.. Head for the water, where you and the dogs can stay cool!

For some good information on heat adaptation in canines, click here and here